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Us 19, Mr. Reid 13, America 11, West Virginia 9, Mr. Lew 9, Jack Lew 8, United States 7, Virginia 7, Bush 6, U.s. 6, Pentagon 5, Mr. Manchin 5, Mr. Mcconnell 4, Mr. Alexander 4, Afghanistan 4, Oklahoma 4, Mr. Whitehouse 3, Mr. Cardin 3, Mr. Baucus 3, Noaa 3,
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  CSPAN    U.S. Senate    News/Business.  

    February 27, 2013
    5:00 - 8:00pm EST  

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educate a child on base in america, not our foreign bases, not where we actually need private school is over $51,000 per year per student. we could consolidate that program like we do all but 16 bases, and over ten years save $9 billion.$9 billion. they have stem programs. they have 103 different stem -- science, technologies, engineering and math -- programs within the pentagon alone. consolidating those would save $1.7 billion over the next ten years. these are programs that are not necessarily initiated by congress, by the way. so they do have the flexibility to make those changes. department of defense tuition assistance program totally duplicates our veterans tuition
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assistance program. so you can do in service have this access to tuition while in service and then have the identical tuition access afterwards and you can claim them both. there's nothing wrong with wanting togy an educational benefit to our troops, but we don't need to do it twice. that's a significant savings of $4.5 billion. alternative energy. we have a department of energy. their whole goal is to work on alternative energy and renewable energy and efficiency within energy. the department of defense is spending $700 million a year on research in alternative energy that totally duplicates everything we're doing everywhere else. so there's $00700 million that we should not be spending at the pentagon for something that's already being dong done somewhere else. we also know that we have a benefit for our military families called px and
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commissaries. you can actually buy at retail stores at a lower price than you can the commissary. and yet the cost of running all those or,s, we could d. all those organizations, we could give every troop an additional $^1,000 a year and give them $1,000 more and they'll be able to buy at lower prices from a commercial vendor versus a commissary. overhead support and supply services over 300,000 military members performing a civilian-type job. personnel that are traininged as war fighters. we have them doing nonmilitary jobs in the pentagon which we could put civilian employment in have these people available to be war fighters, and we could save $37 billion over the next ten years just in the differential in what our total
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costs are for the two different 250eu7stypes of employees. so when we talk about a sequester of taking $85 billion i've just given you over $85 billion over ten years and just by looking at a few programs. so when we hear the number and we think about the federal government being twice the size it was 11 years ago and that we're 2% higher in -- 27% fire terms of discretionary than even if sequester goes through as it actually still year. so it's important that wecan people about where we are on these projects. let me gorks for a second, talk about -- we put outlled the waste book. we put it out every year. we gave 100 examples of how tax dollars were wasted last year.
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$450,000 for on used aret in my state. $325,000 for robot squirrels. this is a grant that was issued to study what we already know about robotic squirrels and their inches interactions with rattlesnakes. i can't see that that's a priority for us when we're running deficits that we need to be spending money on that type of research. we spend $91 million a year giving a -- you won't believe this -- charitable status to the nfl, the p.g.a., and cephal several other sports. so the progress they maker the p.g.a. the first taxes come to the federal government in terms of $91 million a year. i don't know a prosports team that isn't in the business for being profitable. but there are organizations where they send a lot of this
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money through. we are now hiding this money from the tax code. that's $91 million a year. why are we doing that? $27 million was spent by the state department on pottery classes in more rough morocco? why are we spending $27 million on pot aon pottery classes in morocco? the size of the state department is twice the size it was five years ago twice the size in terms of total expenditures. the other thing we talked about is the subsidies of the rich and famous in terms of what's out there. on average we found $30 billion a year that millionaires -- people who make at least $1 million a year -- enjoy in
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benefits from tax giveaways and federal grant programs. that's $30 billion a year. that's $300 billion -- that's a third -- over a third of what we're talking about on the sequestration. and yet we've done nothing on it. this has been out for a year. $74 million went -- of unemployment checks went to millionaires last year. $74 million. people who made a million dollars, but we still paid them unemployment. we sent $89 million for preservation of ranchers and estates. people that are making more, net income adjusted gross income, above $1 million a year. we send them $9 billion of retirement checks. we sent them $5.6 billion of energy tax credits for their home. we sent them $.5 million for
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costs and damages to emergencies. and we also gave them a write-off on their gambling losses in excess of $3 billion. the other thing i found unusual as we looked at this is people making an adjusted gross income in excess of $1 million a year, we gave them $16 million in government-backed education loans. $16 million in government-backed education loans. one of the other areas that we did a study on was the market access program we've all heard of sunkist and blue diamond. in 2012 we paid them $6 million from the taxpayers to help them sell their products overseas. these are hundred million-dollar
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corporations minimally. we don't do that to all the rest of the corporations this year. with an agriculture program, we decided that the very we will-to-do corporations will -- will-to-do corporations we'll subsidize their products. that may be a hobbled goal but in a time of priorities it is not. over $9.-- over $2 billion has been spent on this program which is indirectly subsidized through advertising costs. $2 billion to very profitable agricultural companies who if you go and look on their 10-k's, they're doing just fine. they don't need federal taxpayers to do this. california wine industry, which had domestic sales f of $18 billion in 2009 -- it is higher that than that now -- they got
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$7 million for this. and the american cotton industry received $20 million and had another $4.7 million from cape rat usda market access program. and then finally just wanted to talk about for a minute more than $70 billion in federal funds have been left unspent years after they've been appropriated. we've got $70 billion sitting out there in accounts that has been obligated but not spent older than five years old which means it's never going to get spent. that money is sitting in a bank account that we could pull back if we had effective management because people didn't use the money in a grant didn't use the money in a program and yet we failed to do that. so we're borrowing an extra $70 billion a year to fund the government when we have $70 billion out in accounts that sley vert back to the treasury.
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at the end of this year, the federal government had $2 trillion in unexpended funds -- this is according to o.m.b.; this is not -- this is the office of management and budget. third two-thirds of this was obligated. but a third of it wang obligated. so you have $650 billion in unobligated balances sitting on the federal government that we're not shuffling around to direct to the things that are most important. let me just finish up. i want to make one other point. i got a letter this week from the mayor of a medium-size town in my state. it is the mayor of mcallister, oklahoma. and i'm going to enter this letter into the record because in this letter you see a demonstration of the kind of leadership that's needed when you have a financial problem in
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front of you. and let me read this. the city of mcallister is currently work hard to rebalance our budget after a sudden downturn in our revenue over the past two months. as you know, municipalities are required to maintain a balanced budget. it is a law in oklahoma you have to have a balanced budget. so what has he done? first step, we implemented a hiring freeze. they reassigned workers. refer knew shortfall was stimulussed at $1.2 million so every other expense category including supplies, repatience maintenance, fuel, travel, training consulting services and legal services had their budgets reduced. in other words they responded. none of these cuts are without pain but all will be accomplished while maintaining essential city services. now, for mcallister, a $1.2 million budget cut is a bigger hit than we're talking about
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with sequestration. and yet if the mayor of a 25,000 population community can make the adjustments to serve his constituency without decreasing services why can't we? and i had a ask unanimous -- and i'd ask unanimous consent to enter this into the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coburn: the final point i would make is the following: a little less than three years ago -- i guess it is a little more than three years ago -- we passed an amendment that i offered that forced the government accountability office the government accounting office, and the comptroller general to identify every program in the federal government not only to identify it but to outline where we have duplications and overlaps. they've done a wonderful job. we're going to get the last of that on april 1 about a month from today. we know that we've got about $3
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p 0 billion in the first two thirds of this where they say there's massive duplication. this is $370 billion worth of expenditures a year. and i know -- i've talked to the president. he disagrees with me on this. when you think about it we have 4 separate job training programs of which all but three overlap. they're highly ineffective in total. why don't we have two or three? we spend almost $19 billion on those programs. we could spend $9 billion cut it down to three programs, put metrics on it and make sure it is boring. and the reason i know it's not work something i look at every job training program in my own state and the ones that are most successful are the ones that are totally state run without any federal government interference.
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most of the federal government-run are not well-run. we have 253 duplicative department of justice grant programs. $2 billion a year. if you're needing a grant you might apply at d.o.j. in one of these 203 and then you might apply again over here not same thing to another one and the fact is the government accounting office says, we don't know if people aren't double and triple -- we have people getting the same amount of money from different grant programs for the same grant ali indication. -- application. so what we have is tremendous problems. we just discovered in the state of oklahoma that we have a housing administrator for a city that has no houses. there's 3,700 housing administrators in the united
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states. probably closer to 4,000. we're still counting. some of those have very big responsibilities. i don't mean to demean it at all. but couldn't we consolidate those, especially in the areas of rural oklahoma and the rural states to where we spread that overhead and we have fewer housing administrators? we spend -- we have 56 financial literacy programs. think about that for a minute. 56 different programs to supposedly for the federal government to create a program to make you financially literate. first of all there's a problem with that because we're not financially literal borrowing $1.2 trillion a year. we tkphoepbt what the word e-- don't know what the word efficiency and effectiveness is in the government. and finally why do we have that many financial literacy programs? there's no sane reason or no sane answer to that question.
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as i outlined in some of the others 160 housing assistance programs $170 billion a year. we have 53 programs across four agencies to help entrepreneurs. the federal government is helping entrepreneurs. our entrepreneurial spirit is really not very active and not very successful in terms of what we're doing within the government. and yet we spend $2.6 billion on that. we have 15 different separate unmanned aerial aircraft programs within the federal government. we're going to spend $37 billion on that. why do we have 15? maybe two or three because we have different requirements. but 15? so the massive amount of duplication that's going on within the federal government, which implies massive amounts of duplicative administrative and overhead costs, i would bet that a third of what's happening in
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sequester, if you just consolidated programs -- didn't eliminate any just consolidated the management, you could save a third of what the sequester is just from the administrative overhead associated with it. so when you hear discussions about that we shouldn't be doing the sequester, that the sequester is going to be painful -- and it is. i don't want to deny that. but it doesn't have to be. and all it takes is a small drop of common sense and congress and the executive branch to work our way through these problems. so my hope is that the president will work with us on giving him flexibility in terms of managing this. remember $85 billion really isn't 85. it's only going to be about $44 billion. that's what we're talking about. it is disproportionately heavy on defense but i can show lots of areas -- i know i have a lot of colleagues on my side that disagree with me on the waste
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that's in the pentagon. but i've seen it, i've looked at it and i've had a lot of people inside the military call me and talk to me about the waste that's there. we now have an admiral for every ship we have in the navy. nobody else has that anywhere else in the world and with that comes an average of 200 other employees per admiral. so the question is: can we do this? should we do it? and can we do it in a way that is best for the american people? we're going to cut this money one way or the other. and it's not because a republican wants to cut it or because the president wants to cut it or because a democrat wants to cut it. we're going to cut it because the math in our future is going to force us to cut it. and i know people don't think discretionary programs have much problem with what we're spending money on, but i would surmise that well over 15% of everything we do in discretionary spending, including the pentagon, is not effective or efficient. with that, i yield the floor.
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. mr. manchin: i ask permission to speak in morning business for up to 15 minutes. mr. mcconnell: without -- the presiding officer: without objection. matsch i rise to -- mr. manchin: i rise to pay tribute to frank cleck le y. i wish to congratulate him for an extraordinary job he's done and thank him for his countless contributions to the betterment of west virginia. dr. cleckley's legal career began in 1965 when he earned his law degree from indiana university. it will end next week at west virginia university with a retirement ceremony that so many of his family, friends and
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colleagues will be attending to celebrate this great man. i only wish that i could be there because i have valued and appreciated his friendship for so many years. frank cleckley joined the faculty of west virginia university college of law in 1969. after serving as a lawyer in the united states navy judge advocates general war in the height of the vietnam war not only was he the first african-american on the staff at the west virginia university college of law, he was also the first full-time african-american college professor in the history of west virginia university. as a law professor at west virginia university, frank literally wrote the book on practicing law in west virginia. he authored two you'll find in every courtroom and every lawyer's office in west virginia the handbook on evidence for west virginia lawyers and the handbook on west virginia criminal procedure. these two books are continually updated and are in the words of
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the west virginia supreme court the bible for west virginia's judges and attorneys. of course for the generations of west virginia law students who have passed through dr. cleckley's classroom the fact that he wrote those two books is a source of great amusement for them. whenever they hear him kwo*egt himself in -- quoting himself in his lectures, as it says in cleck le y professor cleckley would say with a smile also the first african-american on the court of appeals in our state frank would smile when lawyers would stumble over evidence in their arguments and on no more than one occasion the justice would quietly quip to one of his colleagues there's one lawyer that didn't take my evidence class. mr. president, frank cleckley grew up in hunting ton, west virginia the youngest of 11
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children. at one point he wanted to play pro football but after working for a congressman j. edward raurb, -- rausch he found his call. he has been an exceptional trial lawyer in representing clients who couldn't pay. in fact, he came to be known as the poor man's perry mason. he has been a one-man legal aid society. he also was instrumental in reviving the mountain state bar association, the oldest minority bar in the united states. in 1990 he established the franklin d. cleckley foundation to help former prisons with education opportunities. two years later he set up another organization to bring civil rights leaders to the west virginia university as lecturers. last fall as he reflected on his long legal career, frank said that when he was a kid in huntington,ented to do -- he wanted to do something with his
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life that was meaningful and important in west virginia. well he did but it turns out it wasn't the nfl as he once thought. it was w.v.u. frank cleckley is a true mountaineer. he helped virginia university become the respected institution it is today. the reverend martin luther king jr. once said the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice. in my view one of the reasons it benders towards justice is there's reason like frank cleckley bending it with their honesty, integrity and commitment to what is right. mr. president, it fills me with great pride to stand here today and tell the senate about the accomplishments of professor frank cleckley and his is service to west virginia. he is a great lawyer, a great man and a great west virginia westn.
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thank you mr. president. mr. cardin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: thank you mr. president. mr. president, shortly i hope we will be voting on the confirmation of jack lew to be the next secretary of the treasury and i urge my colleagues to support that nomination. he's the right person at the right time to be secretary of the treasury. he has devoted his entire life to public service. i thank him for that, and i thank him for his willingness to continue to serve his nation. he has a great record of accomplishment. i've known jack lew for 26 years. i have served with him on common issues and i just want to bring to the attention of my colleagues some of the things that he has done. he first served in the house of representatives as a staff person. he served as a staff person for the speaker of the house tip
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o'neill. in that capacity, one of the responsibilities that he had was to be the liaison to the commission that was working on social security reform when president reagan was president of the united states. i mention that because i think we all point to that time when a democratic-controlled congress and a republican administration was able to deal with one of the most difficult challenges of the time: the solvency of social security. and they were able to come together with a bipartisan product. jack lew's finger prints were involved in that transaction. he was able to bring us together. well mr. president we need that type of person as the secretary of the treasury today a person who will bring together our nation with the type of fiscal policy that democrats and republicans can rally behind as
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we look for a solution to our fiscal issues. he was president clinton's o.m.b. director, and during that time we balanced the federal budget. we were able to do something that has only been done once in my lifetime, and that is we actually balanced the federal budget. jack lew was the architect of bringing us together to balance the federal budget. we need that type of leadership in the treasury today a person who understands fiscal responsibility understands how to do it in a way that you can create job growth. and during those years let me remind you we created millions of jobs. he then of course returned to public service as the o.m.b. director for president obama and as chief of staff. he has the experience we need to be secretary of the treasury, and he has the political know-how to bring us together, democrats, republicans americans to do what's right for this country.
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mr. president, i am proud that he's willing to step forward. i urge my colleagues to support his nomination. he is the right person at the right time to lead our nation on fiscal policy. with that, i would yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. baucus: mr. president i ask consent that there be ten minutes remaining for debate equally divided in the usual form on the lew nomination, that following the use or yielding back of time the senate proceed to vote. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. baucus: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. baucus: mr. president early today i spoke in support of jack lew's nomination to be the next treasury secretary. over the last six hours or so,
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some have come to the senate floor to question mr. lew's character claiming he has not been forthcoming throughout his confirmation. let me remind my colleagues that mr. lew participated in one of the most thorough reviews of any candidate for this position. a process that included hours of interviews and the examination of six years of tax records and more than 700 questions for the record. in comparison, the committee asked secretary geithner only 289 questions. only. secretary paulson 81. secretary snowe 75 questions. throughout the confirmation process, mr. lew has been nothing but open and transparent, and i believe he has gained the trust and confidence of many in this chamber. in fact, 19 of 24 senators on the senate finance committee
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yesterday voted in favor of jack lew's nomination. many recognize that mr. lew is well qualified to be the nation's next treasury secretary. he has demonstrated time and again that he has the knowledge and policy expertise to help get the nation's economy back on track. he's a very smart man very dedicated total public servant. if confirmed by the senate today, mr. lew has set his ear to work with all of us, all of us here in the congress to strengthen america's economy and create more jobs. that is the key: work together to create more jobs. the only way we can get past these constant budget battles is by working together, republicans and democrats in the house house and the senate. and we need to work with mr. lew and the administrative to craft more jobs and spark economic growth. if confirmed we will be entrusting mr. lew with the
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power of overseeing economic policy a great responsibility, one which i believe mr. lew will live up to. i think he has what it takes mr. president. the treasury secretary obviously is the top economic advisor to the president. he works for the president he works for the country. so the second role of the treasury secretary is to speak to the nation about our nation's finances. it's really a dual role. he is both working for the president, but he is also working for all of us the people of the united states of america. it's a very prestigious very important position, because when he speaks, he is speaking for america on financial matters and also on economic matters. it's a separate role that all treasury secretaries the good ones perform and i think jack lew is going to be a very, very good one of the good ones. i ask my colleagues to confirm mr. lew today as the nation's next treasury secretary so he
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can get to work and help strengthen the economy. i yield the floor. mr. sessions: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: mr. president, i would wrap up here with a few thoughts before we vote. i spent a good deal of time today delineating a series of serious, deep problems with this nomination why i truly believe he should not be confirmed. i suppose maybe there are votes to confirm him. we'll see as that goes forward. i don't see any need to delay it any further but it's time for the american people and the members of this senate to consider where we are with this nomination. on february 13 of 2011, a day before the president submitted the budget, the budget that jack lew wrote he went on cnn and the other tv stations and said
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these words words that will live in infamy if we care anything in this body about respectful treatment from the executive branch, if we have any commitment to plain truth. he said -- "our budget will get us over the next several years to the point where we can look the american people in the eye and say we're not adding to the debt anymore. we're spending money that we have each year, and then we can work on bringing down our national debt." how unbelievable a statement could that be since his own numbers, not somebody else's, his own numbers when he submitted the budget on monday, the next day showed that the lowest single deficit in any one of the ten years was $600 billion. he would have added $13 trillion to the gross debt of the united states over ten years and the
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numbers, the deficits were going up in the last five years. a totally unsustainable course. erskine bowles, ahead of the fiscal commission, said -- was in shock i think when he saw this and he said -- appointed by president obama to head the commission said this will take them nowhere near where they have to go to avoid the nation's fiscal nightmare nowhere near, and he was absolutely right about that. then on -- then he also said on cnn on a different day another interview, the budget takes real actions now so that between now and five years from now we can get our deficit under control so that we can stabilize things so we're not adding to the debt anymore. it never comes close to that. it's just a horrible thing. and he said this -- i asked him about it before the committee.
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i read that very quote to him before the committee three days later. and this is what he said. i asked him is it an accurate statement, this statement right here and he said it's an accurate statement that our current spending will not be increasing the debt. he went on to add we have stopped spending money that we don't have. so, first of all this senate, this congress should defend the integrity of our process. we should not have high government officials come before our committees and before the american people and miss represent in such a dramatic way the financial condition of our country. i called it then and i repeat now that this, i believe was the greatest financial misrepresentation in the history of this republic, and if anybody's got one that's bigger, let me hear it, but i don't think we will. i've said that earlier today.
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you tell me. $13 trillion added to the debt, and they say we're not going to be adding to the debt anymore? and the budget was a terrible budget. it was just a terrible budget. editorial board after editorial board. "the washington post," the los angeles times the denver post, the "dallas morning news." there must have been 40 editorial boards hammered this budget failing to lead, "the wall street journal," "financial times," "investors business daily," all hammered this budget because this was early in 2011 after the 2010 elections after the shellacking of the big spenders and there was a hope somehow that we would be able then to get the administration to come around and change some
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things but they stayed right with their big-spending policies. they stayed right with it, and they decided not to tell the truth that we're not backing down we're going to continue to spend, we're not going to cut spending. they wouldn't say that. this is what they said whereas their budget did just the opposite. i just feel strongly about this. this is not right. we in congress should not have this kind of misrepresentation before us, and we should not reward people who participate in such misrepresentation. he's the architect of the administration's calculated plan to misrepresent the budget, to not have a budget in the senate, to not expose themselves any more than possible, to attack republicans like paul ryan in the house who actually laid out a plan that would change the debt course of america.
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that's what the plan was and mr. lew was the architect of it and he executed it. boy, what was it like, do you think, for him to be in the senate, in the white house and have to be told or asked would you go out and say this? mr. geithner, secretary of treasury -- the presiding officer: the senator's time has expired. mr. sessions: i would ask one additional minute, consent to have one additional minute. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: mr. geithner -- and this is important colleagues -- secretary of treasury geithner came before the committee. he would not repeat these words. i questioned him he tried to avoid it, but of course when asked directly, he honestly said senator, this budget will not put us on a sustainable path. exactly opposite of what mr. lew was saying. so i ask my colleagues to
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consider this, and i ask them not to reward the fern who participated so calculatedly in a plan to misrepresent the financial condition of america to cause the american people to believe we have some sort of plan that had the country on a sound path when we remain to this day on an unsustainable path that endangers working americans. i thank the chair would yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: i would yield back all remaining time and ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. there is a sufficient second. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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vote:
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vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or change their vote? if not 9 yeas are 71, the nays are 26. the nomination is agreed to. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. under the previous order the motion to reconsider is considered made and laid on the table. the president will be immediately notified of the senate's action and the senate will resume legislative session. the majority leader. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent that we now proceed to a period of morning business, senators allowed to speak up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. alexander: mr. president i believe the senator from west virginia is -- if he's going to speak i'll wait until after he speaks, if
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he's not ready. mr. whitehouse: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: mr. president i understand that the senator from west virginia is going to have the floor followed by the senator from tennessee and i'd like to be recognized at the conclusion of the remarks of the senator from tennessee. the presiding officer: without objection.
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mr. manchin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. mr. manchin: are we in morning business -- can i speak as if in morning business? the presiding officer: the senator is correct. mr. manchin: mr. president just over a year ago my good friend senator mark kick of illinois and i introduced a new caucus here in the snavment our purpose was to bring attention to the problem of unemployment among veterans. mark and i looked at everything the department of veterans affairs and other government agencies were doing to help ernst haves find jobs. we felt that the private sector needed to be more involved. so we created the senate veterans jobs caucus. today the senate veterans jobs caucus is now the congressional veterans jobs caucus and is a bicameral bipartisan group of 37 senators and 46 house members brought together by a shared commitment to the newest generation of veterans. and this week we are kicking off the caucus' activities for the 113th congress with day on the hill and an event highlighting
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our work on behalf of highlights particularly our showcase program, not only will we be recruiting more members of congress to join our caucus but we'll also be enlisting more businesses to join the corporations that have already ginned our ranks. the members of the congressional veterans jobs caucus are leading by example. we're hiring veterans to work in our senate and house offices. er you'll probably see the signs as you go by our offices "i hire veterans." that's logo displayed proudly. the same logo you also see in the businesses that share our commitment to veterans. our "i hire veterans" veterans "program is a special welcome home and a commitment to serve those who have served our country in the most did i and dangerous circumstances. mr. president, there's no sugar-coat the fact that the
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jock market is tough especially for our young veterans. unemployment among these veterans has reached crisis proportions. according to the latest data from the bureau of labor statistics listen to these figures, if you will. it is astonishing. the veterans aged 18-24 their unemployment rate is 31.3%. 31%. even more staggering is the jobless rate for female veterans in the same age bracket of 18-24, and that's at over 55% unemployment. the employment situation isn't much better for members of the national guards and reserves because employers are reluctant to hire somebody who may be subject to being called to duty, and this generation of national guardsmen and reservists are coming home from a decade of repeated deployment that in many casescases interrupted or delayed their careers or education.
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many of them have just now realizing how difficult it can be to jump-start school or a career. if we don't do something it's going to get worse with more unanimous 100,000 servicemen and women expected to reenter civil life their challenge to find jobs is only going to intensify. listen to the vents and you'll be surprised when they tell you that someone -- that sometimes the stress of finding a job in a tough economy can match the stress of combat. and some of the most dangerous and distants places in the world. imagine for a moment that you're 21 and just back from the rugged streets of kandahar reunited with your family and you you're going up and down the streets of your hometown looking for a job with no luck at all. that's real stress and pressure and that's what more than three out of ten of our young veterans have experiencing right now as we speak. like every generation of american warriors before them,
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today's vents make great hires. they leadly example understand teamwork they're flexible andtope change, they're tech savvy and talk about performing under pressure? even in the most stressful situations with limited resources, they get the job done. mr. president, after world war ii with the millions of american g.i.'s returning home, president harry truman appointed general omar bradley to run the veterans administration. bradley was the popular choice and his steely approach to helping veterans was admired. his marching orders to the v.a. were simple and i quote, we are dealing with veterans, not procedures. with their problems, not ours. you'll find that same commitment in today's generation of veterans in the congressional veterans jobs caucus. it is simply unacceptable that when the courageous americans who fight our wars finally get to come home they have to fight
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for jobs. the congressional veterans jobs caucus is committed to making sure that doesn't happen. america has said it is time to bring our troops home. after a decade of war incredible sacrifice by our warriors the homecomings are underway. it is not easy to come home from war but the homecoming will be easier if we make sure our fighting men and women come home to a job. after all as general bradley said we are dealing with veterans not procedures. with their problems, not ours. and i would ask all of my colleagues here, we have 37 of our senators signed up to this veterans jobs caucus. i would hope that we would have 100. we're going to be working hard to that. i want to thank my good friend, senator mark kirk from illinois helping launch this. we've worked together. we will continue to work with all of our senators. we appreciate it and thank you. and thank you mr. president.
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mr. alexander: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: i ask consent to speak in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. alexander: thank you mr. president. mr. president, i've come to the floor to attempt to clear up some confusion about senate procedure. and the confusion i'd like to address is that some observers of the senate seem to have a hard time telling the difference between a filibuster that's designed to kill the nomination of a cabinet member or a judge and a motion by the majority leader to cut off debate. let me say that again. the difference between a filibuster that's designed to prevent the nomination of a cabinet member or a judge on the one hand, or a motion by the
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majority leader of the senate to cut off debate. there's a big difference. but sometimes i read in the newspapers that republicans are filibustering, for example senator hagel as if a majority of republicans or a majority of the senate intended to deny the nomination to senator hagel through a filibuster, when in fact what most of the republicans were saying was the nomination of the former senator has come to the floor only two days ago. we have senators who got legitimate questions about the nomination and we'd like some time to discuss it. in that case we were forced to have a vote on a motion by the majority leader to cut off debate on thursday before the recess even though the democratic leadership and the white house had been told by
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republican senators, enough of us, that if we voted after the recess there would be plenty of votes to make sure that the president's nominee had an up-or-down vote, as we have done throughout history in the united states senate. for whatever reason, the majority leader and the white house felt that they had to push through a vote and then went into a large complaint that republicans are filibustering the president's nominee. republicans are obstructionists of the president's nominee when all we were doing was doing what senators historically do, which is ask for a sufficient time to exercise our constitutional duty of advise and consent. advise and consent is our best-known constitutional responsibility. books have been written about it. movies have been written about it. speeches have been made about it. time after time. if we don't do it, we would be derelict in our duty.
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and so there's a big difference between asking for time to exercise our constitutional duty for advise and consent and using a filibuster to prevent the nomination of a cabinet member or a judge. i went back through history as best i could the congressional research service has issued a report on what has happened throughout the senate's history on cabinet members and judges. on district judges, according to c.r.s. no district judge nomination has ever failed to be confirmed because they failed to obtain cloture. did it take some time? were questions asked? yes, of course. that's part of the process. but the fact is no district court nomination has ever failed to be confirmed because they failed to obtain cloture.
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so if the majority leader will wait a sufficient amount of time for the minority members to have their questions answered, a district judge in this body today -- and we proved it time and time again -- will not be denied his seat because of a 60-vote cloture vote. there will be an up-or-down vote on a district judge. mr. president, the same is true so far with a cabinet member. the only exception i have found is when the democrats unfortunately used a cloture vote a 60-vote requirement to block the nomination of john bolton, president bush's nominee to be u.s. representative to the united nations. now some presidents include that position in their cabinet. some do not. but astpraoeud that singular insurance -- aside from that sing latin incident which i pointous was the democrats saying they're going to filibuster a nominee by the president and deny him a seat, so far as i've been able to
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tell there's not been ever an instant in the history of the senate where republicans have used a filibuster to deny a cabinet member an up-or-down vote when nominated by a president. that only leaves appellate judge nominations, circuit judge nominees. up until 2003, so far as i've been able to find, the rule of the senate was that the president's nominees to be on the federal courts of appeal always received an up-or-down vote. they were decided by a vote of 51. then our friends on the democratic side when president bush became president decided they didn't like that, and they changed the practice. they began to filibuster president bush's judges for up or down -- to deny them their seats. i had just arrived in the senate in 2003, mr. president. i was really very upset by that because i knew some of the nominees. i knew about miguel estrada. i knew how charles pickerring in mississippi had been a pioneer
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in the civil rights movement when people said he was not. i knew william pryor had been a law clerk to the honorable john minor wisdom, the federal court of appeals judge for whom i clerked in new orleans. i knew these were good people. they just happened to be conservative. they just happened to be republicans. and so our friends on the other side of the aisle said we're going to filibuster and kill those nominees. there were three others: priscilla owen, caroline kuhl, janice brown. all cloture votes failed. there was no final vote. there were four more in 2004, so ten all together. democrats for the first time filibustered to kill ten of president bush's judges. that produced a reaction. that produced republicans who side we're going to change the rules of the senate. we're going to make this a majoritarian institution. we're going to decide these questions by 51 votes. cooler heads prevailed and we adopted a consensus that only in extraordinary cases would federal appellate court judges be denied their seat by a
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cloture vote, by a 60-vote margin. in every other case it would be 51 votes. based on the research i've been able to make only two circuit court nominees failed to obtain cloture and were not confirmed of president obama's nominees and those were caitlin alligan and goodwin lu. no district judge has been denied his seat or her seat by a filibuster. no cabinet has been denied his or her seat by a filibuster. as far as circuit court nominations go, the score is 10-2. the democrats have filibustered to death ten of president bush nominees and republicans in return have filibustered two. i think that's an unfortunate precedent. i would like for the senate to go back to where it was when
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even a nominee for the supreme court such as clarence thomas was decided by a majority vote. so mr. president, in addition to that, of course, there's the question of do we filibuster legislation. and the answer is, yes we do. and sometimes we do on either side to kill a bill. if a bill comes over here to abolish the secret ballot union elections, i imagine republicans will do their best to kill the bill with a 60-vote margin. democrats will do the same with a right to work provision if republicans were in charge. that's happened throughout history, and with lesser nominations that's happened. national labor relations board nominee is controversial; there might be a 60-vote requirement. even with the tennessee valley authority, i remember when the distinguished majority leader held up president bush's t.v.a. nominees because he thought that the president should have appointed democrats instead of
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republicans. i pointed out to him that the law didn't say he had to do that but the majority leader, who was then -- the majority leader he may have been the whip then, said he was going to hold them up anyway. i couldn't get him to stop doing that until i held up somebody that he wanted from nevada. so this has gone on throughout history with lesser nominees. it is part of the advice and consent of the senate. it's a way we gather information. it's a way we make a point. it's the way we sometimes get something in exchange. it's a power that an individual senator has. and with all the powers that we have, it should be exercised with restraint. if all 100 of us exercised all the privileges we have at any given time, nothing would happen. so let me conclude by remaking my first point. advice and consent is the best-known responsibility of this senate. it is a constitutional duty. we exercise it diligently. it often involves some delay.
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it often involves asking for more time to consider someone getting information that was not easily gotten before. every senator knows that the time to ask a nominee about an issue is before that nominee is confirmed. they're able to talk about something, it seems easily. appointments are not hard to get. so that's a part of what we do every day. but i hope that the observers of the senate will make a distinction in the future between the majority leader's effort to cut off debate and the minority's intention to kill a nominee with a filibuster. because we don't do it with district judges. never have. we don't it it with cabinet members. never have. we've done it twice on the republican side with appellate court judges. democratic have done it ten times, both unfortunate precedents, i think but with
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cabinet members and judges, that's the record. so there's a difference. there's a difference between asking for a reasonable amount of time to debate and exercising advice and consent and a filibuster with intention of preventing the nomination entirely finally of a judge or cabinet member. i thank the president and i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: mr. president while the senator from tennessee is on the floor and because he referenced the filibuster of district judge nominees, let me say that there was a concerted effort to try to filibuster a district court nominee one in which senator senator reed and rhode island and myself had a particularly keen interest since we recommended the candidate to the president. it was the senator from tennessee along with ten of his republican colleagues who decided that that was not in the best tradition of the senate and
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who voted against the filibuster and to allow cloture so that the precedent remains that district judges will not be filibustered. and i just want to take this opportunity to thank him for doing that and to let him know that he has my gratitude for that. i think it was in the best interest of the senate. i don't think the senator did it in order to gain any gratitude from me. i think did he it because as a matter of principle he thought this was the way the senate should behave. but i certainly do appreciate it, and i want to take this moment to say so. i'm here actually, mr. president, to once again urge congress that we really have got to wake up to the growing threat of the climate change. the alarm bells are ringing. the signs are all around us. yet, we continue to sleepwalk through history ignoring the warnings from the scientific community, from economists and business leaders even from our
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military of long-term shifts in the climate of our planet. another alarm has now sounded this time by the government accountability office, the taxpayers' watchdog. for the first time ever, the threat to the federal government of climate change has been included on the government accountability office's high-risk list. every two years at the start of a new congress, g.a.o., the government accountability office provides the house and senate with a list of program areas that are at high risk. the g.a.o. is the government's nonpartisan auditor and the high-risk list is its catalog of threats to the integrity and performance of the federal government. i quote -- "solutions to
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high-risk problems says the g.a.o. offer the potential to save billions of dollars improve service to the public, and strengthen the performance and accountability of the u.s. government." house oversight committee chairman darrell issa has called the high-risk list, i quote the most important report published. and as we face the indiscriminate spending cuts of the multibillion-dollar sequester, chairman issa pointed out, and i quote again, that the list represents tremendous opportunities to save those billions of dollars end quote. it's enough actually to prevent the sequester that we're careening towards twice over. only 55 issues have been elevated to the high-risk list since it first began in 1990. the current list comprises 30
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big ticket problems, such as improving defense program management protecting the nation's cyber infrastructure and modernizing federal health programs. when a problem reaches g.a.o.'s high-risk list, it shouldn't matter if you're a democrat or a republican. these issues must be among the top priorities of congress and of the nation. add now to this list of serious national problems the destabilizing fiscal risk posed by climate change. the federal government and our military and by definition the american taxpayer owns and operate hundreds of thousands of buildings, an extensive infrastructure in every state including utilities flood control and navigation systems power plants and distribution networks and irrigation systems
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not to mention the usual roads and bridges. the federal government also manages about 650 million acres of land for grazing for timber, for conservation and for recreation. that is nearly 30% of the total area of the united states, and climate change is affecting virtually all of it. the overwhelming majority of climate scientists tell us that the air and oceans are warming that sea level is rising, and that we are changing the very chemistry of our oceans. these changes some of them unprecedented in human history increase the risk of extreme weather like heat waves floods, droughts and storms. as the g.a.o. points out federal assets in every corner of the country are at risk.
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storms crashing into the southeast, wildfires burning throughout the west and floods inundating the northeast are not just local problems. droughts draining aquifers in the midwest warm temperatures melting permafrost in alaska and rising warming more acidic oceans eroding our national coastlines and threatening life in our seas, these are not just local problems. climate change is a high-risk threat to our shared national well-being. our shared national wealth and our shared national heritage. the g.a.o. high-risk list sounds yet another alarm that we are fools to ignore. for instance, g.a.o. found that neither the national flood
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insurance program nor the federal crop insurance corporation is prepared to deal with climate change. between 1980-2005 the flood insurance program's exposure quadrupled to nearly a trillion dollars. the crop insurance program increased 26-fold to $44 billion. yet g.a.o. reports these programs have not even developed, and i quote the information needed to understand their long-term exposure to climate change and not yet analyzed the potential impacts of an increase in the frequency or severity of weather-related events. now, major private insurance companies like lloyd's of london and others have for years been developing strategies to address climate change, but our federal
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insurance programs don't even have the basic information to address these risks. understanding and preparing for these risks is essential to protect our communities from catastrophic loss. according to noaa, the value of flood insurance coverage in my home state of rhode island was $2.2 billion in 2011. the ocean state has received $57 million in payouts since 1978 some of which helped rhode islanders recover from our record floods of 2010 brought on by extremely heavy rainfall. folks who have flood coverage through the national flood insurance program should know that heavy rainfall has increased in the northeast by 74% since the 1950's, and scientists predict that warmer air will continue to increase the frequency of heavy rainfall
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and consequence flooding in the northeast. disaster aid is expensive. fema has obligated more than $80 billion in federal disaster aid between 2004 and 2011. another $50.5 billion in emergency aid was just approved for the northeastern communities devastated by hurricane sandy. pse & g, new jersey's largest utility plans to spend $4 billion over ten years to make its electric and gas systems more resilient to the severe storms. new jersey's second largest utility jdp & l announced it intends to spend $200 million to do the same. according to gene foxx, who is a commissioner on the new jersey board of public utilities and i quote, this is a cost of climate
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change pure and simple. mr. president, it is really time for us to wake up. in the private sector, the insurance and utility industries are facing the threat. congress must now act responsibly. house oversight committee ranking people elijah cummings asked the g.a.o. comptroller general if it was and i quote g.a.o.'s opinion that regardless of the outcome of global negotiations to reduce carbon emissions, the united states government should take immediate action to mitigate the risk posed by climate change. comptroller general responded with a simple and unequivocal yes. in the high-risk list, g.a.o. states that despite any possible future reduction of emissions and i'll quote greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere will
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continue altering the climate system for many decades end quote. that's the way the laws of physics and chemistry work. damage with lasting consequences is already done, but many effects of climate change can be mitigated, and it's the responsibility of this congress to help our nation prepare and adapt. some federal efforts are under way. in 2003, the u.s. department of transportation initiated a study of climate risks to gulf coast transportation and it's now cooperating in that study with the south alabama regional planning commission. the bureau of land management and the u.s. forest service are developing a drought vulnerability model a carbon storage map and an alpine monitoring program to help land managers in southwestern
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colorado cope with the effects of a changing climate. the centers for disease control and prevention have a climate-ready states and cities initiative to help local health departments prepare for changes in health risks driven by climate change. e.p.a. partnered with new york city's department of environmental protection to develop a software tool that helps drinking water and waste water utility operators understand how climate change poses risks to their facilities. rhode island, i'm proud to say is one of many states that have formed a climate change commission. the commission is coordinating with federal officials to identify specific state and local challenges that are presented by our change in climate. 20 other states have similar climate action plans developed or under way. despite the actions by states,
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the actions in the private sector and the warnings in the g.a.o. high-risk list special interest politics in congress prevent the federal government from using our resources effectively and efficiently against this threat. the polluting special interests have washington gripped in a barricade of obstruction and the effect truly is disgraceful. consider, for example noaa's proposal to create a national climate service akin to its renowned national weather service. this was a no-cost restructuring that would have centralized noaa's work on understanding the climate, including its observations of climate change. the national climate service would have helped meet the growing local demand for climate change science information but this proposal was blocked by
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republicans over in the house who simply don't want to hear about climate change. that kind of thinking will not get climate change off the high-risk list. according to g.a.o., and i'll quote again "the nation's vulnerability can be reduced by limiting the magnitude of climate change through actions to limit greenhouse gas emission s while implementing adaptive measures may be costly, g.a.o. continues, there is a growing recognition that the cost of inaction could be greater, and given the government's precarious fiscal position increasingly difficult to manage, given expected budget pressures. mr. president, congress has been asleep long enough. we have a tradition in this body
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of taking the accounting of g.a.o. our nonpartisan watchdog seriously. and of taking g.a.o.'s high-risk list seriously. g.a.o. now joins our defense and intelligence communities our scientific research communities our state and local governments and major sectors of private industry who have all elevated climate change from their to-do list to their must-do list. mr. president, it's time for congress to wake up to its duties and to get to work. i yield the floor and i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. reid: 34r-79s? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the call of the quorum be terminated. the presiding officer: without objection. the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask that the inhofe-toomey bill at the desk be considered as the bill that qualifies for introduction under the february 14 consent agreement. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i move to proceed to s. 16 and send a cloture motion to the desk. the clerk: motion to proceed to calendar number 19, a bill to provide for sequester replacement. cloture motion, we the undersigned senators in, -- mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that the reading of the
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names be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. the majority leader. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent that tomorrow, february 28 at a time to be determined by the majority leader after consulting with senator mcconnell, that the senate proceed to vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the mcconnell motion to proceed to calendar number 19, s. 16 that if cloture is not invoked the motion to proceed be withdrawn and the senate proceed to vote on the motion to upvoke cloture on the reid motion to proceed to calendar number 18, s. 388. further if cloture is invoked on the comoment motion, the senate resume to consideration with the reid motion to proceed to s. s. 388. and vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the reid 340egs. if closure is invoked on the reid motion, the motion to proceed to s. 16 as previously agreed to, the senate resume consideration of the bill and upon disposition of s. 16 the senate resume consideration of s. 388 if the motion to proceed was previously agreed to.
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the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. the presiding officer: 2 majority leader. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent we proceed to a period of morning business with are senators permitted to speak therein for ten minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to calendar number 14, h.r. 307. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 14, h.r. 307 an act to reauthorize certain programs under the public health service act in the federal food, drug and cosmetic act. the presiding officer: is there
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objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection, so ordered. mr. reid: mr. president, i ask the committee reported substitute be are agreed to, the bill be read a third time and passed and the motion to reconsider be laid on the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent that we now proceed to s. res. 61. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. res. 61 designating march 1, 2013 as read across america today. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection, so ordered. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i now ask unanimous consent we proceed to s. res. 62. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. res. 62 to authorize the production of records by the permanent subcommittee on investigations of the committee on homeland security and governmental
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affairs. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection, so ordered. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to the motion to reconsider be laid on the table with no intervening. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. reid: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today it adjourn until 10:00 a.m. thursday, february 28 following the prayer and pledge, the journal be approved the time for the two leaders reserved for their use later in the day. following any leader remarks the senate proceed to morning business for an hour, senators permitted to speak therein for ten minutes, with the time equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees with the republicans controlling the first half and the majority the final half. further, that following the morning business the senate resume consideration of the motion to proceed to the american family economic protection bill. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president at a
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time to be determined there wieb two cloture votes on motion to proceed to sequestration-related bills offered by the majority leader and the republican leader. senators will be notified when the votes are scheduled. if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask that the senate adjourn under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until
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>> percentage of all homicides committed by rifles? >> either one of you know? >> i know it is a small fraction. >> in 2011 they recommended by a rifle of any type traces many people killed vpns. how many prosecutions have you taken upon your cells for failing a background checks his teeth and u.s. attorney? >> off the top, i'm not aware of
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any. >> i want to put into the record the federal background check form that says that to appear subject to prosecution if you provide false information. how many cases have been preferred to stay prosecutions? >> on that particular -- >> for feeling a background check. >> senator, i don't have a specific number, but i do think it's important to recognize where our focus is. our focus is on prosecuting -- >> clearly her folks is not on prosecuting people who fill background checks? if you haven't done any how could she not disagree with that? >> i don't disagree, senator. >> okay. the point is if we extend background checks we had to start enforcing the law on the books. what almost 80,000 people feel a background check and 44 people are prosecuted, what kind of deterrent is that?
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i mean the law obviously is not seen that as important. if it is such an important issue, why are we prosecuting people who fill a background check. they're sifting questions that are not hard to understand so i'm a bit frustrated we say one thing, but in the real world we do nothing to enforce the laws on the books. >> just from my point of view -- >> it doesn't matter. i want to stop -- i want to finish the answer. i want to step 76,000 people from buying guns illegally. if you think we're going to do paperwork prosecutions, you're wrong. [applause] >> how many cases -- >> senator, if you would withhold just a moment. please, no expressions one way
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or another. let's keep this simple. senator graham and i just are recognized for civility, so i know he'll keep it civil. >> been civil and been confirmed in your convictions are not in consistent. i admire what you do. every cop deserves everything they have coming to them. has your budget, now? in the next that you do expect more or less money given the budget situation? >> probably less. >> i want americans to know that what this police chief is facing a must every police chief is facing. back to the question, how many cases have been made for somebody violating a background check? >> we don't make those cases senator. we make 2000 cases a year senator. that is our priority. we are trying to prevent the wrong people buying guns. that's why we do background
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checks. if you think i'm going to do a paper chase, you're going to misuse my resources. >> he's made no cases. you've made no cases because you say it's not within your belly with. how many cases have you had turned over from the u.s. attorney to prosecute at the state level that you know of? >> we all know the answer. we don't chase paper. we chased armed criminals. >> the point is if we don't want the wrong people to own guns which we all agree then the one way to do that is to take a system that is supposed to distinguish between the person who should and shouldn't and enforce it. i've passed the background check. is that really about who has begun sometimes more than the denisov? i guess the point i'm trying to make, if there's 4 million aer 15th owned by people like me
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the argument would be a distant common use. you may not understand why i want to on a ar-15 and i may not understand what movies you want to watch but we are talking about trying to solve the problem that has at its central core, that the people are committing these crimes should never have any guns or one lit. that's what we all agree on. the best way to prevent crazy people, mentally unstable people are getting a weapon is to identify them somehow before the murder somebody or try to buy one. i'll end on the snow. in south carolina after parents of ashley hall here that the lady went into ashley hall with a 22 semi automatic pistol and thank god the gun didn't function, who passed a background check at the federal level, who was adjudicated not
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guilty by reason of insanity of trying to kill the president of the united states. so before i am told by my colleagues on the other side in the two witnesses we need to change our laws, i would argue the law is fundamentally broken when almost no one gets prosecuted. and if you can pass a background check, having been adjudicated mentally insane by federal court, the place we should start at 16 alas we have rather than expanding on and creating a false sense of security. thank you. >> vice president biden outlined the gun legislation plan at a main national association of attorneys general. we will show you that in a few minutes. president obama said the capital to dedicate a statue to civil rights activist rosa parks. here are some of what he had to say. >> well, they are out of inertia, salt or status. they are out of fear or simple
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lack of moral imagination. we so often spend our lives as if in a folly accepting injustice, rationalizing inequity, tolerating the intolerable like the bus driver, but also like the passengers on the bus. we see the way things are. children hungry in the land of plenty, tired neighborhoods ravaged by violence, families hobbled by job loss. we make excuses for inaction. we say to ourselves, that's not my responsibility. there's nothing i can do. rosa parks tells us there's
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always something we can do. she tells us that we all have responsibilities to ourselves and to one another. she reminds us that this is how change happens. not mainly to the experts at the famous and powerful, but through the countless acts, often anonymous courage and kindness and fellow feeling and responsibility to continually come disturbingly expand our conception of justice. our conception of what is possible. >> the problem with banning any book is that once you ban one we don't know where it will stop
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and abreu takes us back to totalitarian state. blessed me ultima has been banned many times especially western state inc. simply because of the sometimes the parent doesn't understand the novel. they haven't read it. there's been cases where teachers, school boards and parents asked to ban the novel and it turns out they just haven't read it a word or phrase search your repair. but i've got to say in every instance for censorship of the novel has happened, every instance i know so parents and
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family say this is our literature. this is important literature and you can't ban because he picked a word or two out of it. every case i know of ibm and has been overturned. >> i wanted to tell you you can see all the ceremony of bursa parks here in c-span 2 at 8:00 eastern. vice president joe biden spoke to the national association of attorneys general on reducing gun violence. this is 40 minutes.
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[applause] >> thank you. thank you very much. [applause] thank you very much. thank you very much. thank you. i appreciate your introduction and i'm delighted to be here. it is true not only this organization. in washington i am known as jill's husband. in delaware i am not done anymore and here i am known as those that. doug, thank you very much for having me here. i mention the strain. there's only one thing to my benefit with this sequester were about to face. it's been decided by me that in order -- the secret service doesn't like me traveling actor
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for his two delaware by train. that gives people too many opportunities to interact with them in with them in a way they would like to see them interacting. so they fly me back and forth but i miss going for baltimore. when i was a senator he traveled 7940 times roundtrips from delaware to washington and back. so the only thing that's allowed me to get back a sailboat guys i've got to take the train now. it's cheaper than flying. so i get to take the train again. i want to thank you again. during my career which is longer than some of you have been alive, i work closely with nag for many years. for 17 years as the chairman, ranking member of the judiciary committee. i have the distinction and blame
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of being a co-author of every major piece of criminal legislation passed in congress. not a single one of those those from a so-called crime bill and 94 throughout were dealing with now has incurred about the cooperation and maim innocent serious. i've been here multiple, multiple times. i've called any more than i suspect any chairman of that committee ever has because this organization has played a vital role in the passage of every significant piece of legislation that came out of that committee. and you know, i know your agenda is logged and you are deep at the chance to hear from my new friend eric you hear from tony
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wes and tom curry, richard cordray. it's all discussed a wide variety of issues on your plate today. as the expression goes, where the rubber meets the road. you've got a chance to speak to them. that i am here in the same low capacity as bad over the last 40 years. i'm here to ask for your help. i'm here to ask for your input. he sees the attention of the american people and one that demands action responsible action, then safety. on the deal unlike any other elected official or appointed official in your state are cloaked with both a moral and political credibility to know whether this holds. the attorneys general general office in the state although in various jurisdictions each of you are able to operate in an
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area that is not viewed as partisan blood that. you are doing things that fundamentally affect the health and safety and the people in your state. and so you have more moral stations more clout. i'm not trying to be nice. it's a fact. it's a responsibility he felt than any elected officials in the country. i need your advice and your help and i mean that sincerely. the advice i ask for is obviously i'm not going to be able to have me stay with you for a very long time, but i want to invite you and have my staff afterwards available at any ideas you have about what i propose to the president, any constructive criticism you have been anxious to hear. i mean that sincerely. ask any of your predecessors. they will tell you i mean what i say.
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no one has ever doubted. the problem is they tend to say all that i need and that gets me in trouble. except in mississippi. book, all of these things in earphones particularly george jepson colorado, jb in wisconsin, tom in arizona. you all feel in your bones but the american people understand has brought to the foreign way. none has had such an act on the safety of the american people. columbine, virginia tech tucson, over at come up oak creek is senseless slaughters. the american people want to know that we are aware of how
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unacceptable that behavior is. i'd like to point out that when i brought the first legislation back in 94 pat moynihan, a great friend stood on the floor and he said -- he held up a copy of the newspapers from across the country back in the late 20s where there was a bias who murdered in a barber joint and it made the front page of the paper. he felt "the new york times" said that day and he went to sit the section page 47. i make an update site page but it's in the back of the paper. there is a short article up an entire family being wiped out in the bronx, mother, father, grandmother, children and grandchildren wiped out.
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and he said page 47 type aircraft this big, he said this is defining deviancy down. defining deviancy down. after aurora, oak hill, columbine virginia tech i began to wonder whether as a nation we were defining deviancy down by the movie talk about it or didn't talk about it. sandy hook changed all that. 20 20 innocent babies whittled riddled with bullet holes. but the press not here, i can tell you what is not public yet about how grew some it was. i met with the state troopers who were on the scene this last
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week. and the impact on them has been profound. some of them understandably needing some help. the senseless act not only shut the conscious of the american people, that has changed and galvanized the attitude of the american people demanding concrete action. i am doing this for a long time. the public mood has changed. the excuse that is too politically risky to act is no longer acceptable. we cannot remain silent.
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we have to become the voices of those 20 beautiful children. in 75 days ago were killed. they can't speak for themselves. you know better than any elected official we have more than 2000 people who had died at the end of that kind just since new town. 2000 americans. in 75 days. caitlin hormats a 20-year-old kentucky women, shot and killed in a college parking lot after a domestic dispute. aidan, korea, a 4-year-old boy probably just learning to tie his shoes caught in a drive-by shooting in kansas city. heidi and pendleton, a
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15-year-old girl who marched by the president and me on inoculation day, waving proudly because she was from the city of chicago, the president said he. shot dead in a park sitting on a swing in a park. like a little kid, with three of her friends, a gang banger decided that was their park. jermaine mcfarland who was gunned down just hours after her sister joined the president. you saw it on television for a gun safety event in chicago. 25 people gone every day in this country and it doesn't count mothers, fathers sons daughters whose lives have been irrevocably altered. folks, let me say this as clearly as they can. they're going to be a flood of voices in this debate, but i am determined that the loudest
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voice will be the voice of those who we have lost. we have to speak for them and their families. enough is enough. we have an obligation to act. and yesterday the people of the second congressional district of illinois spoke for the first time since new town. voters said a clear unequivocal signal. the voters chose among candidates who spoke forcefully for the need for rational then safety legislation. the voters sent a message last night, not just to the nra, the politicians all around the country by alexi robin kelley, who stood up and stood strong for gun safety, totally consistent with our second amendment rights. they sent a message. the messages there would be a moral price as well as political price to be paid for inaction. people know too much.
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when i authored the assault ban of 1994, some of you know my state of delaware. i had to run the next year. i went up and down every little creek that connected the chesapeake day and the delaware bay, going into hunters and fishermen, saying charlie, i'm not doing what the nra is doing. they say in taking shotgun away. they never ran against me for the assault weapons ban. that kind of stuff doesn't work anymore. the public has been to sensitize. so she'll media is too extensive. the organized opposition is hoping as time marches on it can be diminished in one of the leading opponents -- i was a way or ways because i'm not positive, but a large meeting
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recently said he expect good an opponent or kinetic effect to fade. he just had to wait until it floated away. george can tell you it will never fade from the members of the families who love their children and loved ones in connecticut. it will never fade from those folks in the region or the members and people in connecticut. but with the legislation did in colorado, what it's about to do in new mexico. it's a different time, guys. it's a different time. and that good news for you. it's not going to fade into memory as the american people. the nra and organized opponents are using a simple tactic they've used against me and others for years in the congressional gun policy. a gun policy does nothing but
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infringe on the second amendment. they serve question after question, not because they are looking for answers, not because they're driven by the facts are looking for a way forward, but because they are looking to build roadblocks. for example the president is recommending to the nation going after law-abiding citizens. we are not. they say assault weapons like the ar-15 are needed for protection. they are not. they say it isn't about guns. they are just wrong. it is about guns. the facts are no law-abiding citizens rights will be infringed whensoever prayerbook were proposing. the facts are the assault weapons were 30, 50 100 miles are unnecessary as it hook line for us person at risk not risk by limiting them does not violate the second amendment in
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any way. we have an obligation to ask seriously, responsibly and expeditiously but everything proposed this completely thoroughly, totally consistent with the second amendment rights of every american citizen. first, individuals have a right to open on a weapon. that is not constitutional law. it's an individual right to protect yourself in your own home. second, the principles on which i laid out recommendations. there are certain people who can't constitutionally be disqualified from owning a gun criminals, people from dangerous to themselves or others. third, there are certain weapons you can't constitutionally -- constitutionally far from being owned by individuals. this is not only about guns. it's about the coursing of
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american culture. it's about school safety, mental health. with all this in mind i met with major cabinet members who winds struck her to go and search through everything sitting on a shelf at the department of homeland security at the justice department to the education department, et cetera. i think i would come back with the best ideas that have been shelved the last 10 years. let's look at that. with this in mind we met with every possible stakeholder. 229 different groups have met with comprising multiple members of these groups. 229. government mayors county religious groups, sports organization, nra, then other
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groups representatives and i spoke with many of you in this room. there is a generic consensus that emerged on several things. one that we have to act and two dniester with the action should be. the response i prepared for the president, a document reflecting the consensus back to the best data available and the questions we have are as follows. if you were great in your face if you don't. first, a need for universal background check system set to check system is complete. what value is it that one two three, 5 million people who under the law deemed incapable of owning a weapon, a god what
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good is this a stand if their names are not in that system? ..
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of god knows how many. we don't know. tens of thousands of people. they say they support the system being real but the proposal they are arguing as they market the legislation in the united states senate are so porous that they are going to allow a truck to be driven through the holes in the legislation they are proposing loaded with tens of thousands of weapons. individuals who should not. for example they come up with a system where there is a new version of check system where you can go on line to to see if your qualify and then go to the buyer and say i'm clear and then that person checks and says yeah you are clear but guess what? we want the law to say no record can be kept. how in the hell would you know?
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if any of that transaction is real. no record had been capped. second we improve safety in our view if we limit high-capacity magazines again totally consistent with the second amendment rights of the american people. as mark kelly gabby giffords husband we'll tell you and as pointed out the shooter in tucson had 10 rounds -- had he had 10 rounds in his magazine instead of 30 the little girl who is the granddaughter of a famous delawarian named dallas greenhill i looked up to playing baseball in delaware she would be alive probably to this day because as when he tried to change the clip all the officers and some of you are in the military you can change that clip and a second in three-quarters to two seconds. i'm not a bad shot. i was out at the secret service
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ranger probably took me close to two and a half to three seconds to change that clip. and under pressure i don't know how not being a professional i would have changed the clip. but that proved -- truth is that the number of rounds in that clip had been 10 the probability is she would be alive. what happened was a woman was he was changing the clipper reached out and knocked his arm. that is how they grabbed him. a number of rounds used at sandy hook was astounding. i'm not allowed to tell you because the investigation is still going on but it was well beyond 10 rounds of those clips although there are all kinds of speculation in the press as to how many rounds. had it been limited to 10, who knows? one, two three, five of those babies may be alive. the police got there in two and a half minutes, two and a half minutes they were there.
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so it makes sense. and to you women and guys who are hunters if you need 30 rounds in a clip you shouldn't be out there shooting deer. [laughter] you are dangerous to your partner. i am serious. think about it. i was told we needed for those little varmints. okay, i got it. more muskrat and mice might be alive. i think we can put up with that. guys these arguments. third, we think the assault is both -- 37% of the police agencies have reported an increase in the use of all assault weapons after the ban expired in 2004. ask some of your guys if they show about guns. not only law enforcement agencies are opposed and as i
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was saying to your committee it's also leading flag officers of our time. general powell, general mcchrystal and general barnett seven of them i met with yesterday without in the public in saying these are warranted on the battlefield and you don't need that in at home to hunt or to protect yourself. fourth we propose the gun trafficking statute. you are probably the only folks in america know there is and a gun trafficking proposal. today often the only way to press the straw purchasers to prove a light on the background check and not only is it hard to do but usually comes with about six months. the trafficking gun statute would make it a criminal offense to purchase guns with the intent to transfer to another person. there would be exceptions for buying gifts for people allowed to possess guns in there could be a sentence of up to 20 years. fifth, as all of you know we
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have to increase the number of police officers on the street. no one knows it better than you. up to 30,000 badges because of the recession had her taken off and put in a drawer and fewer people on the street. one thing the crime bill of 94 showed the more sworn officers on the street the greater the reduction in crime including reduction in violence. since the crime bill passed in 94 violent crime has dropped 33% while the cadre of those in the crime committing ages actually increased. since we have come to office we have added back 4000 folks to the cops program 4700 police officers. that's not enough enough and that's what we are proposing cops grants to support 15,000 more local police officers to be deployed the way your local officials think they should be. sixth we have have to end the
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restriction that denies the ability of the most competent people in this country to do research on gun violence. the idea that the cdc in atlanta can't conduct research and keep statistics that the national institute of health can't conduct research that the best minds in america can't conduct research is simply ridiculous. it's ridiculous. but that has been put on the writers of most of the appropriations bill since 2004. it makes no sense. do you know what it reminds me? when i got to the senate that the 29-year-old kid i was flattered coming from delaware that the chairman of the board of general motors chrysler and ford wanted to meet with me separately and i thought god i'm a pretty big deal. a guy who came from an automobile producing state. we were the second highest per capita was such a large presence. do you know what they wanted to talk to me about? a guy named ralph nader had
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written a book in 68 called unsafe at any speed. they wanted to make sure that the national highway safety counsel could not keep statistics and do research on automobile accidents. i couldn't figure it out at first. why? and then i figured it out. everyone thought the reason why you don't need to safety harnesses because most people in the passenger seat died because they got thrown through a windshield. not true they died because they fractured her skull's hitting a post going up and baby if you had a harness on that would save that. that would cost more money. they found out most people in the driver seat when they died something like 85%% died because they were impaled by the steering column. that was a couple hundred dollar six. we now have the safest automobiles in the history of america and per capita fewer traffic deaths than ever before. why? because we got the facts.
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facts lead facts acquired by really bright people and examined sometimes lead to solutions. we have listed these restrictions and we are calling on congress to find $10 million in research on these issues not just the impact of gun violence on the community. we need to understand or about what many of you are talking about. there's all kinds of speculation people say well you know the fact that kids average that are 10 to 12 years old spend an average of six hours a day playing violent video -- playing video games. they are marked mature. some of these games, you have seen them. an assault weapon with a chainsaw. you get points by how many shots you put in the person and if you cut their head off to get a bonus. so people speculate. there is that impact on the
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formation of a young adolescent 's brain. does it induce behavior? there are some studies but there are no serious studies. i don't know the answer. i have my own prejudice like we all do. i don't have the answer but we need a serious study. we need serious people. we have to get the nobel laureates of that area child psychologists neurosurgeons and psychologists to look at it. you know an informed society should not be afraid of the facts. and you have to ask yourself the rhetorical question, why do people want us not to study this? why did they not want the best minds in the world in medicine to study this? seven, with regard to school safety we have talked to the department of education and the department of justice homeland
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security hhs to develop a model emergency plan for best practices in the case of a calamity like that occurred in our schools. the one thing the federal government would do better than anyone in your states we can survey all of you and get best practices and not demand states follow them but offer them up. i'll bet everyone of you have been called by a school principle act superintendent school board asking for your recommendation. god forbid what happens if i have a shooter in my school? what do i do? the other thing we think we should do is we should give schools flexibility on school, so-called resource officers. some of you have been around long enough. as assistant a.g. or a a cheese or another capacities but we used to have school resource officers. out of the cops bill. we propose another 1000 mainly to make a point but this time we think you should be given flexibility. if you want -- it has to be a
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sworn shield. if you want the shield in your hallway armed or unarmed you can choose it or if you decide that your district does not want an officer but wants another school psychiatrist or psychologist or they want a counselor or additional help in the school you can use the money for that and give them the flexibility. we think the best way to help students is to arm teachers not with with the weapon but with information. teachers and in the dennis strader should be taught how to recognize the warning signs of those red lights to go off for every forensic psychiatrist can point out to you are the warning signs that there is a problem. what do we do? my wife teaches full time. she teaches 15 credits in the community college and she's employed by the republican governor of virginia and we were at dinner the other night joking
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about that but here's the deal. here is the deal. what do we do? we teach teachers and administrators first-aid. we teach them cpr. we teach them basic things. we should be teaching them basic signs as to how to recognize the behavior that is really a barrens be favored. not to write down i think the kid has a problem but to make sure you get to the school authorities as well as to the parents and get them some help. direct them not generically. have a list of where they can be sent and who they can talk to what kind of mental health they can get. and we ask for a $20 million to help start a pilot program to do that in the nation's schools. schools. finally there's a consensus in the country that we need to make mental health services more affordable, available and especially among our young people. you have two staff people who
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are a think you have an overqualified guy. you have an admiral and a general that they can tell you better than i can and all of those who were veterans can tell you. there are 300 i believe 49 suicides last year in the united states military. i have on my card every single day i show up to work and the suspended for the last three years and it's not because lois in afghanistan. i list on here exactly how many troops have died in iraq or afghanistan and exactly how many troops were wounded in iraq and afghanistan exists every single solitary one of those people as a family and every single solitary one of those people has affected community. so far there are roughly 6536 dead 50,506 with visible wounds. but guess what folks? the estimate is there are
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300,000 women and men coming home suffering from traumatic brain injury or ptsd. over 300,000 it's expected to go to half a million. and what happens now? you know from your friends coming back or some of you who know people coming back, they know they have a problem so they called for help. there is no answer. there is no one on the phone because you don't have enough -- we don't have enough nurse practitioners who have a bad round in psychiatry. we don't have enough psychiatry. so what do we call for? we call for not just for them. we have taken care that backlog in the military by hiring several thousand people quickly but we know the people between the ages of 16 and 25 experienced the highest rates of mental illness compared to any other age group. we know they are them among the most -- least likely to seek help. they age out at age 18 in most
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of your jurisdictions for medicaid. we need to fix that. and i believe we can. there are three main issues, cost of mental health care the availability of personnel in the mental health care field and the stigma associated for seeking treatment for mental health. particularly in the area of where you have an awful lot of gang bangers you have to deal with on your streets and in your cities. with regard to cost we need to make insurance companies provide quality coverage were mental health as well as any other health need. and the health parity act that was passed in 2008 demands that. it's the law now. it had there has to be parity for mental health. we have are the expanded access to mental health treatment for many people through the health care act and working on new regulations around that law that will ensure the 62 million americans who do not qualify for help or coverage now will get it.
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and later this year we have put in place the final mental health parity regulation which is beyond coverage to tens of millions of more and with regard to the ability of personnel and the availability for personnel we are proposing to train immediately more than 500 mental health professionals with specific skills they need to serve young people in our schools and our communities. and we did the same thing by the way, we know this because we both shared a common border on the eastern shore. we were having trouble in the 70s and 80s and 90s getting docked hers in the small towns wherever it was. so we put together bipartisan program nationally that says we will help pay your medical bills your tuition bills for medical school we will help you pay them off if you commit to spend x number of time in a city that does not have a doctor. and it worked.
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the same thing processes here. weird incentivizing people to go into nurses and doctors to go under the mental health field. with regard to the stigma we need a broader national discussion. too many people avoid seeking the treatment they need treatment that will generally change their lives to kosovo sense of shame and secrecy. we also need to change minds and change attitudes but it's not something the federal government can do in a vacuum. we need everyone to be part of that conversation, the leaders of our schools houses houses of worship health care providers parents and young people. the truth is the truth is we don't know enough about how the rain works so people are in some cases skeptical because even when they get help it doesn't work. that is what the president is proposing a 3 billion-dollar project over 10 years to map the brain like we did the human genome to better understand it. it's the least we know the
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least about how it functions. we are an advanced society. we cannot sit around and wait for these answers. these are the contours of our plans and these are the things we believe we must must act on all of the note even if we do all of these things we can't guarantee another mass shooting. we cannot guarantee that. even if we do all these things we can't guarantee another mother or father won't receive that dreaded phonecall. all these things we know we can't save every life but we to know this. the american people are entitled they are entitled to see their elected representatives stand up and vote on every one of these issues. they are entitled to that. for each of us in this town to be counted, and then let the public judge whether or not we did what they thought we should do.
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they believe that they have the right to these folks. i believe and only time will tell that things will be better and fewer children will die few were futures will be stamped out if we pass these laws i think our children will be safer. even if it's only on the margins assuming it doesn't in any way violate anyone's constitutional rights, 2nd amendment right why would we not act? why would we not act? we are not talking about a lot of money here. we are talking about peace of mind for an awful lot of families. so i think we have to act. i thank you all. god loves you for what you are doing got less the memories of those children in newtown and everyone else who has been shot down.
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they got protect our troops. thank you very much. [applause] >> jesse was brutally murdered at sandy hook school on december december 14, 20 minutes after i dropped him off. this is a picture that was taken when jesse was six months old. it was our first christmas together.
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the picture over there is a picture six months before his death. that picture is his class picture from last year. that picture was -- and jesse was the love of my life. he was the only family i had left. it's hard for me to be here today to talk about my deceased son. but i have to. i am his voice. i am not here for sympathy or a pat on the back. i am here to to speak up for my son. there are many changes that have to happen to make a change effective.
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mental health issues better background checks, bans on these weapons, bands of high-capacity magazines. they all have to come together and they all have to work effectively and it has to be done simply. common sense tells you that. i watched that video this morning. that's a dangerous weapon and anybody that can deny or argue that is not being honest. jack's -- jesse was six and a half years old and his birthday was june 30. 2006 he was born and it was the happiest day of my life. the saddest day of my life was december 14 and the worst day of my life. i waited in that firehouse until 1:00 in the morning 12:30 and
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telling no that jesse was confirmed dead. senator blumenthal was there. governor malloy and the other congressman from connecticut along with the police and the first responders. i have a bond with them that will last a lifetime. no person should have to go through what myself or any of the other victims families had to deal with or to to go through and what the town of newtown had to go through and is dealing with. the morning of december 14, we stopped at a deli and got his favorite sandwich sausage egg and cheese on a hard roll. and he ordered me one. he would always do that.
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i would get a coffee and jesse would get what he called a coffee but it was a hot chocolate. we proceeded into the school. it was 9:0 for one night dropped jessie off. the school clock. jesse gave me a hug and a kiss at that time and said good by i love you. he stopped and he said i love mom too. that was the last i saw of jesse as he ducked around the corner. prior to that when he was getting out of the truck he hugged me and help me and i could still feel that hug and a pat on the back. he said everything will be okay, dad. it will be okay. and it wasn't okay.
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i have to go home at night to an empty house without my son something that should have never happened in an elementary school people argue about the 2nd amendment. the 2nd amendment is a well-regulated militia, to bear arms it hasn't been well-regulated. and it is not being well-regulated. this bill that senator feinstein has proposed, it's not about taking weapons from the owners. it's putting a ban on the manufacturing and curbing the sale of them.
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it's not hurting the sportsman. it's not hurting the gunowners now. i fully support the 2nd amendment and i fully support the sportsman and the hunters. i grew up a firearm. i started skeetshooting with my father when i was eight years old competitively. in my younger teen years i was a state champion. i achieved a level of marksmanship with rifles. i have a broad knowledge of weapons including military weapons. i don't anticipate shooting or hunting anymore. times have changed. my life i had a young boy that i devoted my life to. ironically the same day as jesse passed away five days before that a mother passed away.
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jesse had an interest in the military. jesse had an interest in guns and asked a lot of questions about them. strangely enough the night before he perished he was looking at a survival magazine. in that magazine there were three weapons on one page. one was a bushmaster one was:00 and one was a handgun. i had to go back the following day to look at that. but i quickly looked at it that night and it was an assault rifle assault rifle and to do handguns. he asked me about those weapons. and i explained them to him and what they were used for and their capability.
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a 223 high velocity long-range cartridge use by the military and his response was a weapon or gun that is used to kill people and i said yes jesse that is what it is used for. jesse had a bb gun. i got it for him for christmas a year ago. i taught him gun safety over his back and he was proficient with it and he knew all the gun safety precaution's. he could recite them to use the same way as i could when i was his age. it just breaks my heart that something like that could happen in this country in an elementary school. i've walked past the capital this morning the capital police
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3 feet from me when i walked by them. what is he holding? an assault weapon. protecting our nation's capital. in fact protecting us today. a weapon in similarity of a bushmaster was brought into an elementary school in sandy hook connecticut and killed 20 students and six educators. i just can't believe that could happen. those weapons were used on the battlefields of vietnam. they were used in the persian gulf. they were used in afghanistan and iraq. it is sal